Thursday, April 30, 2009

Scattered Thoughts

My mind is going everywhere today. Things I'm thinking?

* Yea! B is done with his second year of law school. Only one more year to go!

* My ring is pretty. It is, and I guess all this wedding thinking has made me look at it more these days and fall in love with it all over again.

* We need mirrors at the church.

* If I get swine flu, will I be better by the time I get married?

* How serious is B about this "sickness and health" thing?

* Maybe I could call in sick for the next three days and avoid people altogether...

* Only three more batches of biscotti.

* I can't wait for this weekend. Making favors, a little dress shopping, and a lot of packing.

* Wow, I marry B in 9 days. Will one of us have to act grown up from now on?

* Dinner. To pizza, or not to pizza?

* I have 10 of 19 things on my work to do list completed. Three days left. It's been up since April 1.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grrrr Macy's

Ok, so (for now) the registry is showing. We'll see how that goes. Beyond that though, I'm amazed. Macy's shipped us a present that wasn't for us. It was our china, but not our name on the packing slip inside and we had no idea who the sender was. So Mom tries dealing with Macy's, who basically tells her that there's no way we got the wrong gift, that it's simply impossible. Mom isn't so much worried about it being the wrong gift and trying to return it as she is that it's a switched gift and that somewhere, someone has our gift from a dear friend that will never get a thank you note.

So what does Mom do? Looks up the true recipients number and gives them a buzz. Turns out they do have a gift of ours from a dear family friend of B's. It's the same thing, except that we were shorted a serving bowl. The other girl's Dad tries dealing with Macy's, who eventually says "call it even, we'll send A a serving bowl."

Seriously? How do you ship presents to the wrong place? I used to be a huge Macy's advocate, but with all the trouble we've had with them, I'm amazed they're still thriving in a struggling market.

So it's no biggie to us. All is fine and we know who sent the wayward gift, but still. Macy's, step it up!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dear Macy's...

Dear Macy's,

Why must you continue to delete my registry? Just a few months ago we went through this charade. You hid my registry from friends in stores and family online until we noticed and corrected the error by calling and spending over an hour on your website. Why must you be so cruel? Hours are important these days. They can be spent hanging out with friends, taking long walks, catching up with sisters, or baking wedding goodies.

And here you've done it again. I've called Wedding Channel customer service, and they don't see that you even exist. So it's you, Macy's Registry, that is the problem. A very nice lady in customer service helped me by resetting the account (again), so kudos for having a friendly team of people, but still, a friendly team of people with poor online infrastructure does not a happy bride make.

People wonder what makes brides turn into bridezillas and I'm confident that, in the end, it's the little things that add up, prompting a huge explosion over the fact that no one thought to provide forks that the guests would need to eat their dinner.

Macy's, please don't be my fork.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Boy in a Bubble... or Bubble Wrap

B doesn't know it yet but I'm going to pack him up like an antique vase for the next 12 days. First off, for his Mom's sake, he's fine. I say that because B is known for somehow finding ways to injure himself during every season, vacation, and commercial break. Ok, so that's not true, but he has injured himself on just about every ski trip his family has taken, making him a perfect expert in the difference between a separated shoulder and a dislocated one.

About a week ago, B was playing basketball when he jammed his thumb pretty good. Not one of those "shake it off and forget about it five minutes later" kind of jams, but one that caused him to bind his thumb in an ace bandage for over a week to keep the swelling, and pain, down.

So it should be no surprise that he called me a few minutes ago after a long run and a nice swim in his complex pool to tell me that, as he was climbing out of the pool, the rung in the metal latter broke at the joint and collapsed, causing him to crack his shin pretty hard on the severed metal piece. He's ok-- just a really bad bruise, but I know it must hurt because a) he called me and b) he has ice on it and has it elevated.

This got me worried, so I got the ok to call my Dad and have the good Dr. call B and check it out. Dad says he's fine, but that he just hit it at the exact spot that probably going to stay tender and painful for a while. Ok, so it's true Dad said that, but what he said first was, "He's going to be fine-- he's not getting out of this that easily!" Love it.

I told B I'm wrapping him in bubble wrap for the next week or so, or at least until he gets himself home. I think the hardest part is being at work and not being able to go take care of him, not that there's much he needs. Still, it helps to have someone else bring you the Arnold Palmer.

Take care of yourself, B! And stay away from the Swine Flu.

Weather Bug

I'll admit it: This morning I caved and checked the forecast for Florence for the first time even though our date isn't quite on the 10-day forecast just yet. Right now it's a little funny. It's suppose to be beautiful today, then rain for the next nine days. Who knows what the weather will bring but after it rained on our engagement pics, the day we picked up the wedding dress, and my bridal portraits, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we had showers on our big day. I was hoping more for "May flowers," but we'll take what we can get!

The crazy thing is, I had no idea that offered a Month view as well. What does it say? Drum roll please as I switch tabs to look... Hm, well not much helpful. Average high/low? 78/56. Record high/low? 92/42. I guess we'll just wait and see!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

13 Days

Good thing 13 is my lucky number, because I'm loving today. I spent the last 48 hours hanging out at a fabulous lake house with a gorgeous view about an hour outside of town with four of my best girlfriends in tow. We were there to celebrate one lucky lady's 25th birthday (welcome to the club!), but really it felt so selfish because we all had such a blast just being away from "it all," as they say, and indulging in a little down time.
Friday night we celebrated the birthday girl with margaritas, taco salads, gifts, and cupcakes topped with Sour Patch Kids, then Saturday we spent most of the daylight hours cruising around on the boat. Like I said, it really was a hardship going away for this birthday!
The weekend was really great for me because we're at a point where the to do list is finite and I could fill all my waking hours with little things (lets be honest-- I really should fold my laundry and put it away), but it's nice to know that I can leave it all for a few days and just enjoy being with friends. Ok, I did put a huge dent in the thank you note list, but when you wake up at 7am on a Saturday, what else is there to do? And besides, I did have a mimosa with me. On second thought, those might be some mighty fun thank you notes to read. :)
Back to work tomorrow. Only 7 business days left in the Birmingham office, so I'm getting down to it this week and knocking a lot of things off the office to do list. The agenda this week? Baked goods for the welcome bags, packing for the honeymoon, and cleaning the apartment. Plenty of time. Ramp those prayers back up for B-- his next final is Thursday, and then he's done with his 2L year! Go honey, go!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

Mom is at Sam's right now buying Cokes and waters for the welcome bags. Suddenly 15 days is feeling like nothing! Two weeks from today, I'll be saying goodbye to my favorite girls post-luncheon and getting ready for a fabulous rehearsal dinner. I can't wait! I'm sneakily excited to get packing for both the wedding week and the honeymoon.

In the next... 11 days, I need to clean the apartment, pack for wedding week, pack for honeymoon, make welcome bag treats, make favors, celebrate a fun birthday weekend out of town, finalize plans with the band, finalize plans with the photographer, write at least 30 (to-date) thank you notes, burn the rehearsal dinner DVD, email the make-up lady, submit our information to the newspaper, see if our video camera works, and work on the rehearsal dinner seating. Funny thing is, that list seems too short now!

More good vibes to B, who should be about 2.5 hours away from finishing his exam.

Make-Your-Own Sushi Party

Last night, my former boss and the rest of my current department gathered for a wedding party/shower to celebrate my upcoming wedding to B. Sadly, B couldn't make it. In fact, he's in his first exam of the spring, a grueling eight-hour take-home. Prayers for B! As the sensitive, caring wife-to-be that I am, I carried on with my plight, enjoying the party to its fullest.

Because my boss knows that my friend group and I are planners (movie nights, Barbie parties, weekly dinner), she decided to do something different and threw a make-your-own sushi party. She provided all the goodies including seaweed wrappers, sushi rice, salmon, shrimp, avocado, wasabi, cucumber, carrot... need I go on? She (wisely) went for steamed shrimp and smoked salmon, as we did tend to linger on the back porch by the alcohol, but once we got rolling (pun-intended), it was fantastic and really easy.

Basically, you take your bamboo roller and wrap it in syran wrap (to keep the sticky rice from... sticking), then lay a seaweed wrapper on top. Depending on if you want rice on the inside or the outside of the roll, you put the shiny side up or down, then cover with sticky rice that's been slightly sweetened. Mash it into a fine layer, then flip the seaweed sheet over (don't worry, the rice will stay put) and fill it with everything. We mostly did a spicy cream cheese with smoked salmon, avocado, cucumber, carrots, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.

Once you have your roll filled, start at one edge, roll it over the filling, and pull it back toward you, using the bamboo sheet to press it firmly together. Think burrito-- roll, tuck, squeeze, then keep rolling. If you think you're pressing too hard, you aren't. You want the roll tight!

The sushi was fabulous, but the company was definitely not-to-be missed. It was a great night, and the perfect way to celebrate a regular Thursday in Birmingham.

This afternoon, we're leaving for L's lake house for the weekend to celebrate her 25th birthday. Yea! I'm looking forward to 48 hours of relaxation and happiness before I get back and go for the final push on wedding planning, apartment organizing, packing, and my final 7 days of work in the Birmingham office. Crazy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Pro," Indeed

B: baby, what kind of mac is your laptop?

Me: a mac one. It's also shiny, if that helps. And silver

B: macbook pro, right?

Me: I believe so, yes. it has all the extra storage, but not the crazy apps like garage band, etc

B: ok, it says that your is a dvd+/- r that means you can buy either i'd get -

Me: you are my hero.

B: i think they work better

Me: so '-' is better for shiny

B: I gotta go.

This poor boy has no idea what he's in for...

The Dress Is In!

Not mine, of course, I've had that for weeks. But B's Mom finally got her dress in yesterday after three inexplicable delays. She's trying it on now. Yea!

To celebrate, I'm posting a snippet from one of her emails to me today:

Beauty takes forever.


Wedding Quote of the Day

From Mom to our contact at the reception site:

After photos, A and B will be toasted and the Midnighters will start the first dance.

Woohoo! Holla. Good luck with those spins, B. :) Mom, you know I love you, right? And I fully know, as master of the wedding gift spread sheet, you could definitely put one over on me. I did mention that I love you, right?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Holy Hotels! No Room At the Inn, Batman

The hotels in Florence are sold out. WHAT? Marriott, Hampton, Hampton, Jameson... No rooms. I don't take full credit for this, it seems it's more of a perfect storm of a baseball tournament, a college graduation, Mother's Day, and, of course, our wedding.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dress Dance

One of B's favorite things about me (I'd imagine... I've never actually asked him for a list) is the little dance I do when I'm happy. We call it the dress dance, because it comes out most often when I have on a new dress or something that makes me feel good.

Well, I got my portraits back today (quick turnaround!), and let the dancing begin. Love them! The photographers did a great job and I know Mom and I will always remember that crazy day of rain, thunder, looming storms, and a celebratory bottle of wine at the end. It was a great memory already, so I'm thrilled that it's capped off with good pictures, to boot!

The hardest thing is not forwarding them around and showing them off, but I'm behaving! The last thing I want is for them to somehow end up tagged on the bottom of some email and sent to everyone (because that would happen how?).

But yeah! The pictures turned out even better than I'd hoped, and now I can't wait to see what the rest of the wedding countdown brings.

My Mom Thinks I'm Crazy

Not really, but I've sure given her good reason to! Today was one of those days at work. Lots of meetings, nothing really marked off the to-do list. I'm starting to feel the crunch-- only 10 more days in the office before I get married and begin the long-distance work transition. It's not stressing me out-- I have more than enough time to finish everything-- but I'm having to operate at such an efficient level of looking at things only once, making a decision, and moving on from them, that I'm losing touch with the fact that I don't need to hold everyone in my life to that expectation, ranging from coworkers to the lead singer of our wedding band.

I called B and told him all this (as I tried not to cry in Publix out of embarrassment at my own craziness sneaking out) and he had the perfect response: make me laugh, then say, "Hon, when you pick someone so perfect to marry, you can't help but have high standards, and that just isn't fair for everyone else out there." So he made me laugh and I felt better, then I got in the car, called my Mom to apologize for sounding crazy, and ended up sobbing my way through a stoplight.
I felt like that mommy blogger that just wrote for CNN saying that it's ok to feel overwhelmed when you have kids. You don't have to be perfect. It's odd, but everyone keeps asking me if I'm totally overwhelmed yet by all this wedding planning and, you know what, I'm not. But I feel like if I let the slightest bit of natural exhaustion show then I'm somehow showing weakness.
Let's be honest, this is too introspective a post to work on after a long day of meetings and a few frustrating conversations. I am weak, and that's ok. But I am not crazy! (She shouts to an empty room.)

So tonight I'm focusing on the good things. My good friend L may come over and have dinner. We may go walk before that. We may scrap dinner and simply over-indulge on cookies and wine. I'm pushing back that nagging reminder in my head to finish the wedding DVD, call Grandma to tell her I can't make our weekly supper tomorrow night, and begin sending out final emails to the wedding vendors. As Scarlett says, "I'll think about those things tomorrow." But tomorrow turns into ... let's not go there.
I'm excited for all the wonderful things happening in my life, and am so thankful and blessed that they are happening for both B and myself. Now I just need to cut myself some slack and enjoy my last 18 days of controlling the living by myself. Wow. Talk about a reality check!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hostess Bags & Little Debbies

Me: We need to think about what to put on the front of the hostess bags.
B: What about, "Welcome to beautiful Florence, sister city of..."
Me: No no no, that's going on the info sheet inside.
B: Oh. Well what about, "At least these aren't Little Debbies," or "Little Debbies were too expensive."
Me: What?
B: Hostess... Little Debbie.
Me: Oh goodness.
B: How about "You're a Star," like you're a star for coming to our wedding.
Me: No.
B: And we could put gold stars on there, too.
Me: Now you're getting cheesy.
B: But cheesy is memorable, and don't we want to be memorable?
Me: If we're going cheesy, why don't we just had out those plastic photo frames like you got for prom engraved with our wedding date and a photo of ourselves in a prom pose.
B: Well that wouldn't work.
Me: Why?
B: Because no one would want a picture of me. You maybe, but not me.
Me: I want a picture of you!
B: I'm just saying. Maybe we write "Thank you for coming to the wedding!"
Me: Sounds good.
B: And keep a sheet of gold stars around just in case...

Hurrah! Pictures are Done!

There must've been a whole legion of angels up in heaven furiously working to hold up their oversized golf umbrellas to keep the rain aways yesterday. (What? There's golf in heaven, right?)

After working my way through 10 pounds of pecans (that's a lot of worry, but at least my cuticles were safe!), the skies cleared long enough for us to shoot outside for about an hour, plenty of time to get some good snaps. I cheated and saw the one Mom took with my camera and I love it! Here's hoping the real shots turned out as well.

We moved to a second location (trying our luck) and got one shot in before the skies opened and the bottom fell out. My photographer, bless her, sprinted toward me, threw the dress up over my head, covered me with a sheet and told me to run for the building. Nothing like a little teamwork, right?

Mom must've been nervous, too. She picked up lunch for herself on the way into town and never even stopped to eat it! Instead she glued hostess bags, organized Florence-bound gifts, and updated me on info sheets, tissue paper, and personalized labels. A woman on a mission, for sure! Point being, I had a fabulous McDonald's salad for lunch today and, I have to say, I was super impressed with it. It tasted just like the salad I love at Chili's, but at a fraction of the price. Yeah for bargains!

Post-pictures, we celebrated with wine and dinner at Brio (at 4:45), and then picked up wedding clothes/Christening gowns for one of my nieces and one of my nephews, then we headed home, packed up all the goodies, did the dress transfer (it's safely in Florence!), and got her on the road.

It was a crazy day, one that seemed to move in slow-motion the whole time. Driving to the location, at about 2:45, I felt like it must be 8pm already. Preview for the wedding? Probably not... I was so nervous about the weather yesterday, but, to be honest, rain or shine on the wedding day I end up married to B. Everyone wins!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Nut House

Seems like every weekend is crazy, but the wonderful kind of crazy.  For once, I'm in town (yea!) and getting things done.  Last time, I knocked a few things off the to-do list, and this morning took down a few others.  So this afternoon, I got started on one of the goodies for the welcome basket: B's Mom' recipe for sweet-and-spicy pecans.  Six pounds of pecans later, I'm 2/3 of the way done.  Eep! Hoping to knock the rest of them out tomorrow so Mom can take them home with her.
It looks like that won't be a problem, as the storm are suppose to roll in, which definitely puts a hitch in my plans for bridal portraits.  Ooph.  So on one hand, pecans finished.  On the other, portraits postponed.

I'm hopeful, though.  Weather changes all the time and who knows?  It could totally clear up and be gorgeous.  And, honestly, if it doesn't?  No biggie.  Everyone can do them on Monday.  I'd just rather get them done.  One more thing off the list. :) 

Yuck, just checked again.  Rain all day and, unless I want to do the portraits at 9 pm, I'm out of luck.  Monday looks clear though.  

I'll admit it-- I prayed for clear weather.  But, to be fair, I also prayed for the girl my photographer worked with today-- it was suppose to pour on her outdoor wedding.  And her day turned out beautiful.  It doesn't look like mine will be the same for the portraits, but I thought I had to at least say that not all the prayers this weekend were totally selfish...

No more nuts.  Bedtime.  We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Friday, April 17, 2009

If Real Life Was a Musical...

Most of you lovely readers know that I have a special place in my heart for musicals. I love musicals. I listen to them while baking (thanks to Mom and Dad for the Bose!), while programming at work, and I would listen to them in the car, if I had an iPod converter. (Also known as an 80's style tape thing.)

I sing them in the shower, in my car, and when I call in the morning to wake B up on days when he's super lucky. ("Good Morning Baltimore" from Hairspray anyone?) He's lucky I didn't ask to recess to one at the wedding.

My love of them began when my parents carted me around to them at a young age. Cats. Les Mis. Phantom of the Opera. Starlight Express. And continued in college when I took my writing seminar "Reading the Broadway Musical," in which we headed off to see Hairspray on Broadway. My roommates put up with repeated viewings of The Sound of Music, and every Christmas at school was an excuse to hop a train to New York and catch the latest. Rent. La Boeme. 42nd Street. My only regret is not seeing Hairspray.

So color me excited when my friend C sent this link, which shows 200 people taking over a Belgium train station performing a surprise choreographed dance to the tune of Do Re Mi. It starts small, with just one man, then builds on itself until the entire hall is dancing. Save the period costumes, it's what I imagine life would feel like if you lived in a musical. At any moment, everyone breaks into a dance that they all know! Brilliant.

So what do I do? Cry. Obviously. What is it with me a youtube these days? I may as well call it yousobtube.

My Favorite

B's Dad snapped this photo about a month after we got engaged. It was our first time seeing them and we celebrated with Champagne as his Mom and I started peeking at a few of the bridal magazines my Mom had purchased for me. I love this photo-- totally happy! It's the perfect way to mark 22 days left on the countdown.

I told B last night that we'd be "teenagers" soon, referring to the countdown. He was confused, probably because I said something like, "the number of days we have left until the wedding is actually less than the number of our ages." Huh? I told him that even if we aged backwards, with one day equalling a year (shout-out to the Bible on that one), we wouldn't have time. Still confused by my clearly shaky logic, he just laughed when I told him our relationship was like Benjamin Button.

Love you, B!

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Sunday's forecast went from "isolated thunderstorms" to "scattered thunderstorms" (better) to plain old "thunderstorms" over the course of this week. I could look at it from the mindset of, "hey, Saturday's forecast changed from scattered thunderstorms to partly cloudy overnight" but instead I'm thinking that it might be more of a deluge.

It's funny because I'm actually not really concerned about it, but I think I'm getting a preview of what my browsing history will look like the week of the wedding...

Glutton for Punishment

To follow up yesterday's Susan post, I'm introducing Paul Potts. Tears. (Mine.) Every time.

From my limited research, it looks like things are turning out pretty well for former cell phone salesman Potts. Here's hoping the same comes through for Pebbles-owning, never-been-kissed Susan.

Dream Dream Dream...

Last night I dreamed that I was an AT&T phone salesperson and that I'd just made a big sale when I realized there was something underneath the skin in my thumb. I worked it out and discovered that the foreign object was, in fact, a pumpkin seed.

For the record, I had wine, a burger, and chocolate-covered strawberries for dinner. Weird.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

138-Year-Old Cake

Ew. Ok, and kind of cool. An English seller is auctioning off a 138-year-old one-inch slice of wedding cake from the marriage of Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise, to the Marquis of Lorne. Besides moldy icing, the cake comes with a pinch of scandal: Louise was the first to marry a commoner. Get it, girl!

I've heard of couples saving their top layer for a year, but what guest had the foresight (and cabinet space) to save wedding cake for nearly a century-and-a-half? And, honestly, parchment can do a lot, but it can't perform miracles...

While I'd love for my cake to compete with her five-foot-tall confectionery concoction (it weighted 225 pounds!), I must say that I hope my cake, and my photos, both turn out to be less stale than Louise's.

Rip My Heart Out!

My friend L sent me this much-viewed link of Susan Boyle, the 47-year-old wonder woman that got up on Britain's Got Talent and belted out an amazing version of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Mis. Ironically, I was listening to the sound track on my ipod when she sent it, which I often do when I'm programming at work. All that said, I'm a pretty solid expert of Les Mis tracks, and a pretty demanding listener, if I do say so myself, when it comes to musicals.

Susan Boyle, you are my heart. Seriously, this woman got up and told about her life in Scotland and how she's never had a chance to sing then she drops this amazing track leaving the entire audience stunned. I cried three times and got chills twice. Among other things, this should tell you how many times I've clicked "replay" this morning!

I'm not one to be moved by music, but I am one to be taken by unintentional irony. Here was this woman who never had the chance to follow her dreams singing lyrics like "I had a dream my life would be so different from this life I'm living." Break my heart! Then when she said in her preroll that she'd never been kissed? Stacy, Clinton-- give this lady a makeover and get her on stage somewhere. Anywhere.

Feel like being moved and inspired today? Don't miss Susan Boyle. She's my Thursday favorite.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Licensed to Wed

B and I headed to the court house on Friday late afternoon to get our marriage license. I anticipated somewhat of a battle. After all, you're at the court house to get something and B was only in town for one day and what with all the rules, well, you get the picture.

B and I rolled in, past the crossing guard ("Off to get married, kids?"), through the metal detectors and secuirty ("Hang a right for marriage licenses!"), and down the hall past a few bystanders ("You guys here to get married?"). It was like being in a Disney movie; all we needed was a soundtrack, chirping birds, and a lighthearted skip to round out the experience.

We headed into the office (Windows 15 & 16, please) and quickly got our forms.

We moved to the table to begin filling them out (with the classic tethered-to-the-table pens) when B discreetly pointed to the guy behind us in line wearing the BOOZEFEST shirt. Classic. His wife-to-be had on the largest t-shirt I'd ever seen, but perhaps she was just trying to compete with the loudest.

Forms complete, we headed back to the window, presented our IDs, picked out the color of our certificate (Oatmeal, in case you care to know), and then waited while she processed us. It was then that the teen bride (I swear she was 16 if she was a day) rolled in with her plastic daisies and entourage of people. We could only hear snippets about garters (which were not visible from my view of her white sundress) and the groom was no where to be found. It got to be so crazy that even the license lady (nice as she was) got tickled. For the record, we later found the groom out in the parking lot moving stuff around in the car. I'd still pay to hear their story.

From now on, I'm considering taking lunch at the wedding windows of the court house. Everyone is happy (or so you hope), and everyone is kind. I told the lady that she had the best job in the place and she said, "I love it. There aren't many jobs where you can tell people 'God bless you' every day in the workplace." I didn't point out to her that she worked in a government office and that she likely fell into the category of forbidden Christian-based well-wishing, just smiled at her little printed cutouts that said, "Jesus Loves You" and "God Bless!"

The picture above is B signing the license. I have another one where he looks very serious, as if this "taking a wife" nonsense is quite the serious, and cumbersome, business. I'll save that one for another day...

As we left, the lady asked us our wedding date.

Me: "May 9th!"
Lady: "Y'all are cutting it close on the 30-day window for the license, aren't you?"
Me: "Well, we've got 29 days, and if it gets pushed back from that then there's going to be more trouble than an expired license."

Come to think of it, maybe that's why B looked so worried...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Seen in Birmingham

After hearing about recent instances in the news, I can't say that I'm sorry to see it...

Scattered Thunderstorms

Sunday's forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms. It's also the day of my bridal portrait. I'm not too worried. It rained for our engagement photos and they turned out great. I'm just going to take a deep breath and not worry about it. There are things I can control and things I can't and, try as I might, rain doesn't fall into the first of those categories.

What's funny is that I'm honestly not bothered. I'm just so stinking excited to get married to B that whatever happens (or doesn't happen) between now and then is just going to have to deal with itself.

Besides, Eeyore, and his little rain cloud, always was my favorite. Now if only I could find a suitcase large enough to take my photos under...

Wonderful Weekend at Home

Just when I thought I might be nearing the end of my last-push wedding stamina, B came into town for a few days and now I feel totally recharged and ready to take on any (and hopefully all) of the things on my list, which currently includes favors, welcome bags, ordering thank you notes (check!), and sending detailed schedules to every vendor on the books.

I had yesterday off to help with some family issues, so I'm a little scattered today, thinking it's only Monday when really it's almost Wednesday. Three weeks from today will be my last day working full-time in the office until July. How crazy is that? Don't even get me started on my work to-do list.

But the weekend was fabulous. B and I went on Friday late afternoon and got the marriage license (details and pictures to follow), which turned out to be a wonderful experience. It was like walking into a Disney movie; everyone we passed called out, "Hey, you going to get married? Congratulations!" as we skipped by. Well, everyone except the teen bride behind us, or the guy next to us wearing the "BOOZENATION" tshirt. Like I said, more to come.

Friday night my high school girlfriends hosted a fabulously fun couples' shower. They grilled out and had tons of classic favorites, including cheese dip and this amazing brownie truffle concoction. "Entertaining" was the theme, and the girls brought their favorite fool-proof recipes and a few gifts to help get the parties started, including Catch Phrase and some fun cooking toys.

Saturday B and I worked at the apartment for a while, he on law school outlines and me on wedding gifts, before heading out for a walk at the Botanical Gardens. Let me be clear. We didn't intend to go there. In fact, we parked over a mile away, but once we wandered in the gates, we were hooked. Two hours (and several bride-spotting moments) later, we made it back to the car and headed home to get ready.

That night I cashed in my MyScoop winnings with a personal chef. Details to come, but let me just say that Chef Gray cooked 10 courses for us that night. We downed the wine and didn't even feel it, the food was so rich. It was a blast and a fun way to celebrate having B in town.

B flew out early afternoon on Sunday, so it was a bittersweet Easter, but it's fun knowing that the next time I see him, we'll be altar bound. How wild is that? The countdown was around 280 and now we're down to 25 days. Speaking of that to-do list...

It was a wonderful weekend, and a great reminder of why I love that man so much.

Quote of the Day

From a 93-year-old victim of a hit-and-run accident:

Crash survivor Russell Kealen, 93, told News 13 he knows very little about Carpenter.
“I don’t know beans from apple butter about him,” Kealen said. “All I was told was that he was drunk.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

Go, Go, Go!

One of my nieces has a super-cute habit. When you ask her what a cheerleader says, she kind of wobbles around, pumps her fist and says with "Go! Go! Go!" or "Touchdown!" Love it.

Well today I need my own cheerleader. This weekend is going to be a weekend to behold. By Sunday night, I should have:

Had a fabulous time with high school friends at a couples' shower

Finalized the program and given Mom the go-ahead to start printing

Finished a few presents

Wrapped a few other presents

Finished the rehearsal dinner slide show

Ordered napkins for the wedding

Finalized our timeline for the big day

Ordered other related big-day items

Applied for the marriage license

B's coming into town (Yea!), so that's a super big high point and I'm actually glad he's knee-deep in exam prep, because then we can both break out the laptops tomorrow and power couple our way through a morning at a local coffee joint. I can only hope they serve wine before noon...

So it's a "Good" Friday for a lot of reasons today, and I have much to be thankful for, especially seeing Mom and Dad, to boot!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

After my previous encounter with the marriage license lady, I trod a little more carefully this morning when I called back...

Lady: Good morning, Marriage License Office.
Me: Hi, I have a few questions for you. Will you be open tomorrow?
Lady: Yes.
Me: Will you be keeping your usual business hours of 8am to 4pm?
Lady: Yes. We ask that you come before 4pm, but we are open later. Due to paperwork, we stop accepting couples at 4pm, but remain open until 4:30pm.
Me: That's perfect. Can you tell me what I need to bring with me?
Lady: Your groom.
Me: That's an easy one.
Lady:...each of you needs a state issued-identification card that must be valid. A drivers' license is a good example.
Me: Great, we can do that.
Lady: And $43.50.
Me: Perfect.
Lady: Cash only.
Me: Ok.
Lady: It must be cash.
Me: Right.
Lady: Please don't forget that.
Me: Well... sounds good! We'll see you tomorrow!

It seems like if the $43.50 was such a big deal, they'd install an ATM somewhere over at the government offices. I wonder if it has to be exact change. I'm sure that tonight I'll have a nightmare about having to choose between paying the parking meter or keeping that precious fifty cents close to my heart. I think I'll take the ticket...

B's flying in tomorrow evening and I'll pick him up then dash over to get the license before the office closes. His Mom is picking up our rings this afternoon from the engravers and then we'll officially have everything we need to make this thing legal: marriage license, rings (optional, but mandatory to me), and, well, my dress. Come on, you can't expect me to be totally practical.

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

B's Mom: That's a very mean thing to say to a person with no dress.

She was laughing as she said it, so I know she still loves me! B's Mom has had a time. She ordered her dress long ago with a ship date of April 1. And then it got moved back. And moved back again. Now it's suppose to ship April 22, which doesn't leave her with much faith that it will a) actually ship on April 22 or b) that she'll have enough time to get it altered, if needed. Bless her heart! She's been a great sport about it, and is getting a little "just in case" shopping in in the meantime.

That said, we're officially one month out. The hotel blocks are closed, though that just means that the rate goes up by about $20, and the RSVPS are due today. To date, we have 235 guests attending, but still a good number that haven't RSVP'd... like 139. Here's hoping the postman hates us by the end of today!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Deadlines Looming

Today is the last day for our room block rate, though I'm pretty sure the block may have filled already. Tomorrow is the deadline for RSVPs. It also marks the one-month point before the wedding, as well as the 30-day mark, which means that, beginning tomorrow, B and I can officially apply for our marriage license. Crazy!

This week is full of crossing things off the list. Meeting with the cake man. Meeting with the photographer. Shopping for presents. Finishing the slide show DVD. Finalizing the programs. Signing my taxes.

...So that last one isn't a wedding-related listing, but still just as valid, at least in Uncle Sam's book.

I think I'd be more "high-gear" minded if it felt like April outside, but because my windshield was iced over this morning and my car told me is was 39 outside, I'm still chilling happily back in February. Don't tell my Mom!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

Me: Mom, I've got the cake contract that I can fax to you.

Mom: Ok, are you going to send it right now?

Me: Pretty much. I just need a minute to print it.

Mom: (long pause) So... it's on the computer already then?

Me: Yeah, so I can print it and fax it to you.

Mom: (long pause) Or just email it.

Me: Well that definitely would make more sense...

Need. More. Caffeine.

Getting in Gear

We're still over a month out (well, a month and two days, to be fair), but I'm finding myself throttling into high gear, both at work and at home. We're down to the details of the wedding (program text, final meetings with vendors), so every night gets a job. Last night? Programs, which I think went really well. Tonight? Work on a few gifts and talk to B about cake details.

But it's really work that's spiraling upward. Aside from the holidays, summer is our big time, what with all the outdoor grilling and fresh produce available. People are looking for excuses to cook, and I'm looking at my growing list of "To Do Before Atlanta" and the suddenly shrinking number of days to get it all done in. And what do I do as a result? Blog. Well done, me, if i do say so myself.

All that to say, I'm getting excited, which means that I'll likely start making a very large calendar very soon with what job needs to be tackled on which day, starting now and leading up to May 9. If I try to color-code you in the next 32 days, simply disregard.

Monday, April 6, 2009

36 Hours, 5 Softball Games, and Countless Wings

This weekend I headed to Charlottesville to cheer on the Duke law co-rec team in the 2009 UVA tournament. If you played college ball, then you might have an inkling as to how serious this weekend was. Thirty-seven organizers. Professional umpires. Sixteen hundred law students. And, as far as I've heard, not a single law suit. Well done!

I flew in Thursday night despite the crazy storms across the south and then, bright and early on Friday, we packed up B's Jeep and headed for UVA, bringing an 1L and a shortstop along with us.

We arrived in time for check-in at Wild Wings, which may or may not have been the highlight of B's weekend. I knew the boy liked "man food," as I tend to call things that are fried, smothered in sauce, or just generally a brownish color, but he was so excited at the idea of having dinner at Wild Wings. "There are only a few in the country," he told me as we saddled up and ordered a sampler of 25 wings. One entire page of the menu was devoted to a flavor list of the wings available, ranging from Chinese Syndrome (which prompted the server to wish the orderer "good luck") to Ranchadila ("Part Ranch, part Chernobyl, whole lotta good."). Long story short, they were some amazing wings.

We registered at Wild Wings, soaking up our free beers and the leering looks from the all-mens teams that were literally lining the room on the back porch (Hello? Single girls? 1,600 law school kids, mostly men. Heads up!), then headed to the hotel to get ready for the first game, a 9 pm opener which went less than perfectly, thanks to the long car ride and the fact that most of our infield was still hungover from the night before.

After the game, we went out for late snack/dinner and drinks before calling it a night to prep for the 8am (you heard me) game on Saturday. Following a quick victory, the team readied for the second game of the day, third overall, which they also soundly won, thrusting them into the playoff, single-elimination rounds. We dug into the Bradley Arrant BBQ, then played a final game for the day at 9 pm. And by "we," I mean the team. I spent my time alternating between shivering on the bleachers and taking funny pictures of people at bat. Good times had by all!

Saturday night we headed out for the big event with, I'd guess, roughly 1,500 of the kids from the tournament for drinks and hanging out off of UVA's main street, making the most of our last night in town before (you guessed it) the game the next morning at 8am. Ooph.

Unfortunately, the team that we played pre-dawn the next morning was among the 100 or so kids that opted not to go out and celebrate their judicial camaraderie, but rather stayed in and prepped by ironing their team tshirts and oiling their gloves.

We were out, but the weekend was fantastic. B and I enjoyed breakfast at Bodo's Bagels on Sunday and several naps throughout the weekend (crazy 8 am games), plus hanging out with one of his bosses from this past summer (a UVA grad) and witnessing a hilarious homerun derby.

The most striking thing about the weekend (aside from the massive swell of testosterone that swept the campus and the overall organization of such a huge event by people already overwhelmed with work) was realizing that this trip would by my last to Durham as a visitor. The next time I go, I'll be moving to live with B. And I'll be a wife. Now that, friends, is crazy. We're right on 33 days, give or take four hours or so. I can't wait!

"This is Delta, How Can We Help You?"

On Thursday, my three minute delay quickly turned into a three hour delay, which prompted me to call Delta's hotline and request a move to an earlier flight. The conversation went something like this...

Me: Hi. I'm scheduled on the 5:46 flight out of Birmingham into Atlanta, final destination Raleigh/Durham, this afternoon and I see that it's three hours delayed. Can I get on an earlier flight to Atlanta?
Simonne: (pause) We have one at 4:17. Could you make that?
Me: What time is it now?
S: It's 2pm.
Me: That's perfect! Can you please switch my seat to be on that flight?
S: I can.
Me: Is there an earlier flight I can take from Atlanta to Durham, or will I need to wait for the 9:45 flight?
S: No, all the other flights are fully booked, but at least this will get you to Atlanta.
Me: Definitely.

So it sounds like it's going well, right? Then it starts to spiral...

S: So let me get you all finished up here. You want to cancel the flight into Durham then, right?
Me: No. We're just moving the first leg of my flight up. You said no other flights were available into Durham, is that right?
S: Yes, that's right. Ok, I've got you all booked on flight 2290, final destination tonight in Atlanta...
Me: NO! Simonne, wait. I'm going to Durham.
S: Oh yes, that's right. Ok, I've got you booked on the 5:46 flight out of Birmingham.
Me: No no no. We moved that up to the 4:17 flight, right?
S: Oh yes, my apologies. And you wanted to go ahead and cancel the returns on Sunday, then?
Me: No! Don't cancel anything! Can you read me back the itinerary?

She read it back and, shockingly, it was accurate. This it got worse again...

S: Tell me your email address and I'll go ahead and mail this new itinerary to you.
Me: Ok, it's a-j-o-h-n-s-o-n-0-5 -- the "0" and the "5" are numbers.
S: So it's h....
Me: h-n-s-o-n-0-5, where the "0" and the "5" are numbers, not letters.
S: a-j-o-h-n-s-o-n-the letter 'o'-the number '5'
Me: No. That's not right, the zero and the five are numbers. ajohnson. the number zero. the number five.
S: Ok, I think I have it now.
Me: I'm actually driving to the airport now, so you don't need to email it. It's 2:45 and I've got the make the plane.
S: Ok then. Can I help you with any hotel or car rental information today?
Me: Oh no, no thank you.

As it was, I ended up on the 2:30 flight out of Birmingham, which actually left at 4:15, and then bought my way onto an earlier flight out of Atlanta, which is good because my original flight was cancelled altogether. But wow, that was painful. I've never been more thankful that the wedding is slowly moving into the near future. That's the last time I'll fly to visit B in Durham until it's my home, too, and then hopefully we'll be flying places together. And if we need help, we're definitely not calling Simonne.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Flight Status

"Behind Schedule"... only 3 minutes so far, but with big storms looming, I'm worried it could be a long night in the Birmingham airport or, worse, stuck in Atlanta. Though, to be honest, I'm not sure which would really be worse... Say a prayer for clear(er) skies and safe travel.

I'm Just Sayin's All

CNN profiled several struggling families as they worked to make ends meet over the past year. While reading the follow-up interview (five months later), I found this gem:

Saddled with credit card debt and working at a low-paying fast-food restaurant, Jeffrey Root, 27, decided to go back to college to study English during the economic crisis to better his future.

Jeffrey, I love my English degree, but let me say that buckling down to get an English degree to "better the future," provide for your family, and get out of $8,000 of credit card debt is probably not the best plan.

English is great and lovely and, believe you me, I wouldn't have majored in anything else. However, when I picked it, I did realize that it didn't have the immediately applicable job skills that some other majors seemed to have (though, these days, Econ majors aren't doing so hot either). I chose to study English ultimately to better my writing. What better way to expand your own abilities than to study the masters of the craft? It worked out in my favor. My first boss post-grad was thrilled that I'd majored in English lit, rather than communications or journalism. "I can teach you to write like we do," he said, "But I cannot teach you to love words, or writing."

But seriously, Jeffrey, an English degree to bolster your fledgling financial situation? A one-way ticket to the big life it is not. Best wishes to Jeffrey. Here's hoping that he's getting a teaching certificate on the side...

And, by the way, I think I really need this shirt. Sure would save trouble when B looks at me and asks me random things, like reciting the 12s from the multiplication tables. And yes, that does happen.

Glory Days

I'm off to Durham this afternoon to see B (yea!) and then head to Charlottesville on Friday morning with the rest of the Duke team for the annual UVA law school softball tournament. No, I'm not kidding, and I'm actually really looking forward to it. My first weekend visit to law school (B's first year, Labor Day weekend), there was a 1L softball tournament B was playing in, so I went to watch and, let me tell you, between the hopeful 1L girls asking each other which one the "real" baseball player was (the legend of B's professional baseball days preceded him, obviously) and the seriously number of rule-followers out there coaching third base, it was a hoot.

B's made fast friends at law school, and I'm excited to have a weekend away with a number of his good buddies. For one, it's going to be an awesome break from what I normally do everyday (office, gym, dinner out, walk with the girls, wedding planning, etc). Instead, I'll have three glorious days to sit outside, maybe play an inning or two, and definitely bring the Gatorade (it runs in my blood, remember my Mom with the cooler?). Fabulous! For two, I get to see B doing something I know he loves, which always makes me happy.

I leave tonight after work and come back on Sunday night. I can't wait! Plus, I just checked and there are 37 days left until the wedding, which was B's college baseball number, making this weekend perfectly timed and destined for great things. Besides, when else can I pack a suitcase that contains (among other things) two baseball gloves and a pair of stilettos? Today, especially, I love my life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Oooh, you want a CONTRACT."

Me: Mom, let me fax you this menu the reception place faxed me while you were gone a few weeks ago.

Mom: Ok. Um, A, this was a contract that needed to be signed. I called Cathy and she was out so I signed the contracts and sent her them and a copy of your email.

Me: Oooooh. My bad.

Wedding Planning Moment of the Day

My life has come full circle. While dropping off a stack of thank you notes in the mailroom's "outgoing mail" box, I looked in to find an RSVP card addressed to my parents' home. Unfortunately, the paper was too thick to see who the card was from, or if they were attending. And, yes, I did resist the urge to pry it open, then shut it again. Is it a federal offense if the mail is technically yours anyway?

The RSVPs are rolling in, though we still have 192 out. Yipes! Deadline is a week from Thursday, so here's hoping some start rolling in. Granted, a few of those are members of the wedding party, so I can probably point for the fence in regards to which way they're going to go.

Walk of Shame

This whole fascination started when I won the MyScoop Valentine's Day contest, which netted me several things, among them a dinner cooked by a personal chef, perfume, alcohol, and shiny earrings. One of the items in the gift basket, however, caught my eye: Flingwear.

Flingwear, as they're called, are tiny thongs carefully wrapped and tucked into little ziplock dime bags. Apparently they're good to keep in your purse for those nights that you either a) inexplicably lose your panties and need a new pair or b) find yourself out overnight unexpectedly and need a new pair for the morning. The tagline for the product is, "You're now free to fling!" If only they could merge their motto with Southwest, then we'd have "You're not free to fling about the country," which might just be the slogan for Hooters Air.

Mom, rest assured, I don't have a tiny bag of panties in my purse. For one reason, no thank you and for two, they were all size small and look intimidatingly small. At least through the bag. No, I haven't touched them yet.

B one-upped the Flingwear people with this find he sent me last night: the Walk of Shame kit. The kit, a $34.99 value, contains a dress, flip flops ("Because you can't run away fast enough in those heels"), a backpack, sunglasses, pre-pasted toothbrush, wipes, and a call/don't call "leave behind" note card that, depending on the side you fill in, either reminds him of your name or tells him to never call you again. Clever, cute, funny, and probably a pretty popular gag-gift among girlfriends, at least in the next holiday season.

One cool thing, though. The kit contains one last item: a breast cancer awareness bracelet. Apparently part of the proceeds from the kits are donated to "a breast cancer foundation", though it doesn't specify which.

Just a note, they do custom kits for clients. So far, all the names in the list are hotels in Vegas, which fits perfectly with the kit's slogan, "We'll Never Tell."